Kelly Rowland at "Le Comte De Monte-Cristo" Red Carpet - The 77th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival Sued Over Usher's Assault After Clash With Kelly Rowland And Others

Home / Entertainment / Cannes Film Festival Sued Over Usher's Assault After Clash With Kelly Rowland And Others

By Afouda Bamidele on May 31, 2024 at 2:45 PM EDT

This year's Cannes Film Festival garnered much attention for the wrong reasons, thanks to an usher who took her job a little too seriously.

The female escort, whose identity remains unknown, went viral after videos of her ushering multiple celebrities escalated into rows. Now, Ukrainian model Sawa Pontyjska is suing the event's showrunners over her encounter with the woman.

The Cannes Film Festival usher also clashed with Kelly Rowland, Dominican actress Massiel Taveras, and South Korean actress Yoona.

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Sawa Pontyjska Claims She Was 'Brutally' Restrained By The Cannes Film Festival Usher

Pontyjska recently opened up about her traumatic red carpet-experience at the Cannes Film Festival on May 21. She revealed that she had filed a legal complaint after being assaulted by the event's usher.

The Ukrainian model recalled being "brutally" restrained when she tried to access the cinema with a legitimate ticket for the premiere of "Marcello Mio."

However, the female guard frightened her by locking her in a "bear hug" while she was at the top of the Cannes' iconic steps.

"I was trying to escape from this lock. I went down, and I started to run away on the stairs because it was the way back [out]," Pontyjska told BBC News, adding:

"She was trying to push me in[side], so nobody can see what she's doing with me. Then she kicked me out through the back door."

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The Model Claims She Did Nothing To Warrant The Usher's Poor Treatment

In her interview, Pontyjska stressed that she did nothing wrong to cause the usher's wild reaction and had since tried to contact the organizers for an apology. However, the Cannes Film Festival heads have not responded to her query or legal complaint.

Pontyjska noted in her lawsuit that she was "violently challenged by one of a group of security guards" in front of "thousands of people." She claimed the usher's use of physical force caused "acute pain," and she also suffered "psychological trauma."

Apart from an apology, the Ukrainian entertainer stressed that her reputation had taken a beating following the incident, and she wanted 100,000 euros (£85,000) in damages.

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Pontyjska also addressed her encounter with the Cannes usher on TikTok, sharing a now-viral clip of the confrontation that has amassed more than 16 million views and hundreds of supportive comments.

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Cannes Usher Seen Forcing Pontyjska Into The Building

In the video, Pontyjska is at the top of the steps to the Palais des Festivals, with the female guard attempting to drag her inside. The usher has her arms around the model, leading to a brief struggle that nearly sends Pontyjska to the ground.

Eventually, the Ukrainian entertainer broke the guard's grip and tried to go back down the steps. However, she was stopped by additional security personnel and taken inside per BBC.

As stated, this isn't the Cannes usher first rodeo with celebrities, as she had a heated exchange with former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland. When asked about her confrontation with the guard, she said:

"The woman knows what happened. I know what happened. I have a boundary, and I stand by those boundaries, and that is it."

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Rowland continued saying, "There were other women that attended that carpet who did not quite look like me, and they didn't get scolded or pushed or told to get off. I stood my ground, and she felt like she had to stand hers."

Kelly Rowland Allegedly Scolded The Cannes Usher: 'Don't Talk To Me Like That'

Kelly Rowland on the Marcello Mio red carpet during the Cannes Film Festival

Unlike Pontyjska's experience, Rowland went viral for calling out the Cannes usher for allegedly addressing her rudely. The Blast reported that a video of the confrontation turned several fans into lip-reading detectives.

According to lip-reading expert Jacqui Press, the drama began when a female guard stepped on Rowland's dress as she ushered her up the steps. The escort apologized, which the singer accepted before turning strict when the woman said something else.

It was unclear what the usher told Rowland, but it got the 43-year-old repeatedly scolding the woman, saying: "Don't talk to me like that" and "You still don't talk to me like that!"

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Other fans echoed similar sentiments to Press's lip reading, with one social media user believing Rowland said, "Don't talk to me like that. Don't talk to me like that. You're not my momma. I told you not to talk to me like that."

Source Claims The Cannes Ushers Were 'Aggressive'

According to an informant, the Cannes ushers attended to their duties poorly. "The people who are assigned to helping stars walk the red carpet were being aggressive, and Kelly was trying to ignore it," the source claimed.

The insider noted that by the time Rowland reached "the last woman," she was over being rushed, especially since the usher scolded her. The Blast reported that a similar incident occurred with Dominican actress Massiel Taveras.

A video of the altercation captured the same female guard ushering Taveras up the steps and stopping her from displaying her Jesus-themed cape.

Things escalated when the guard put an arm around the actress in an attempt to move her away, causing the latter to shove her.

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